Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 8

One phrase impressions:

Violet Evergarden I’m sold.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  A typhoon of emotions.
Ito Junji: Collection – Here we go again with n FPS (n approaches 0).
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Is that a Monogatari reference?
Fate/Extra Last Encore – Once again nothing really new.

Violet Evergarden (Ep. 7)

  • When you say “a dad lost his daughter”, it sounds a bit sad. Saying “a single dad lost his only daughter” adds emotion slightly but in a world where we hear that for example 200 people died in an earthquake or 50 in a plane crash most often we just cynically sigh and think “oh well, there’s nothing to be done there”. The devil is in the detail and a show really needs to do its best to move a person who has seen countless sad anime stories. And this episode of Violet Evergarden managed to do that just right.
  • If you need a face for the meme “I need to protect that smile”, prepare to smash your keyboard taking screenshots. I can’t remember the last time I was so amazed by a character who says maybe 5 words and appears for 2 minutes but leaves a very long-lasting impression.
  • Violet has reached a level of a normal child. She manages to evoke fatherly feelings of the writer, and when someone projects your feelings onto you, you can do nothing but try to understand them and give some answer. That’s very healthy for our not-that-emotionless-anymore heroine. Violet also is finally able to judge the wishes of her clients. I doubt that Violet from several episodes ago would’ve thought about not doing precisely what the client asked. Yes, she still made some food (or rather tried to make) but she is clear she’s not a maid. You can say that banning alcohol or tidying the mess is a part of making her work more efficient but I think Violet starts doing it more than just for the sake of being more efficient. Another step forwards. Yay!
  • I’m amazed that someone had to develop a whole new script that Violet’s world uses, and this script is widely and constantly used. It’s in the books, on recipes, even on booze bottles – you name it. Talk about making an immersive experience.
  • More details – eggs, water, Olivia’s eyebrows, autumn colors… Dude, almost any film should be jealous of such a production.
  • Comedic moments also clicked with me – they are noticeable enough to add some flavor and also very subtle in order not overshadow the main story. Violet’s clumsy determination to make a dinner, her sincere investment in a kids’ story (not that its themes are childish), or that hint about writers block (and the reaction after that) – I can ask no more.
  • The theme of loss is augmented by the news that the Major is likely not in a particularly healthy condition right now. I think the time for this was chosen very well. Violet has grown enough to understand her feelings better so the news hits her hard – the effect would’ve been way lesser a few weeks ago. On the other hand, there’s plenty of time to see how Violet will be able to adapt when the major force in her life (oh, pun wasn’t intended. At first.) is no longer there. Being Violet is suffering.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Ep. 7)

  • Right from the start the show tells us that the episode will about Kondou. Haruka will not be there, though she is not an unimportant person to Akira anymore.
  • Normal everyday Kondou clearly understands all the problems that would arise from a relationship with Akira, and is certain that it probably wouldn’t work. This Chihiro person seems to be pretty important to Kondou and that might hold some insights into his personal space, something deeper than just what playing a manager or reading random stuff can tell.
  • Akira realizes how much Kondou means to her only after he takes a sick leave. His words before definitely intensified the situation (as did the typhoon coming), and Kase with his voice of reason did that as well. By the way, Kase sure is much underused knowing that he basically had a separate episode for him. I can’t say I liked his approach but it would be a shame to ditch this character once he was introduced.
  • Still, as Kondou states himself, he isn’t strong-willed at all, and Akira’s sadness is more than he can stomach, especially when the fever loosened his self-restraint. Even though he would never think of doing it in normal conditions, Kondou braves to cross the line when nobody sees. Only we don’t see him completely crossing it. Just as in Akira’s fever dream, Kondou was basically dreaming with eyes wide open.
  • The truth is that Akira and Kondou are on completely different wavelengths. Akira’s love is as blinding as possible and she’s ok to accept whatever intimacy she can get from Kondou. The problem is that Kondou sees everything in a completely different light. For him Akira is no love interest but only a reminder of his young days, of something pure and untainted by later experiences. Especially since Kondou himself doesn’t look particularly happy about how his life turned out to be, he can’t resist Akira simply because he wishes for her to have great and fulfilling teenage years, and then an appropriate future.
  • Once light reappears and the normal life ensues, Kondou again stayed true to his words  about being a pushover as he fled trying to restore the previous situation when he and Akira were simply colleagues or friends at best.
  • Love all these close-ups of Akira. The violin version of the ED also was very lovely.

Ito Junji: Collection (Ep. 8)

  • I don’t know, Deen doesn’t seem to have any other series that I know of whose production would avert work forces from Collection. I get that sometimes studios chose one work over another but the most impressive anime animation-wise that Deen produced recently was KonoSuba, and that was a whole year ago. I just can’t understand what would force them to allow production of such a low level. Even before there was little to talk about (on a good side), and I certainly don’t need such technical marvels like Violet Evergarden airing this season to say that Collection now looks abysmal and worse. Forget characters staying on model, forget in-betweens, forget a decent CG, forget everything that makes anime different from a slideshow. I’m sorry for Junji Ito if he’s watching this.
  • I can’t say I liked both of the stories, but I’m very biased because of the visuals, so take my words with a pinch of salt. Physiologically more than totally ridiculous concept of connecting tops of heads probably worked far better in manga, but it does seem creepy enough. Another thing is that this caterpillar thing and this head-worm looked very out of place compared to the rest of the visuals. I was even considering it a comedic story.
  • The other story actually had some comedy vibes, something you can expect from Ito. Circus always is a magical and therefore an unknown place, very favorable to be mended into a horror story. There’s a reason why people are afraid of clowns. It was quite funny to see people fail, but in the end a twist that the manager is a demon doesn’t make everything that more interesting. It’s an ok concept but I doubt I’ll remember it after a few days.
  • You can say that atmosphere is all that matters (and on some level I have to agree), but it’s an anime so I have to expect things to move. Oh well…

Mahoutsukai no Yome (Ep. 20)

  • Is it (possibly the best girl) Suruga Kanbaru? I guess a mix only between Natsume Yuujinchou and Akagami no Shirayuki Hime wasn’t enough.
  • I was waiting for that dragon-flight scene ever since the seasonal PV showed up, and what can I say, it was impressive. The whole first part of the episode offered some quality animation and I only wish there would be more scenes like that. Nobody can criticize the show about its backgrounds, but more frequent sakuga moments wouldn’t hurt the experience, especially since all the fantasy material usually is very suitable for that.
  • All the commotion with the dragon ended in a true Mahoutsukai no Yome fashion – it may not have been as abrupt as we’ve already seen but I still think such a big event like a wild dragon appearing could’ve been exploited more – 7 minutes to wrap everything up is way to little. Claustrophobic framing in the auction portrayed the size of the dragon and its sense of being cramped in a rather small place fairly well, but pretty much all the fun ended once the dragon escaped. As if the creators couldn’t think of any way to use a majestic, powerful and dangerous dragon so they chose to play it safe and have it subdued in a matter of seconds. By making Chise almost drown yet again, of course. It’s not bad but considering the build-up and all the possibilities I can’t feel otherwise but slightly disappointed. Also disappointing was the lack of these new sorcerers. Do you need to introduce some dudes only to say afterwards that “they went home” before they did anything?
  • What I liked was the Suruga No-Big-Deal-Dragon-Hand. No matter how direly Chise had been beaten up, she always escaped by sleeping a bit so some more serious consequences are a great change.
  • During last episode I thought that the sorcerers might try to use Chise for some of their machinations but it appears that Maaya Sakamoto herself (on behalf of the witches) will do exactly that. I don’t remember anyone telling that apart from mages and sorcerers there were also some witches around, but I guess that sort of thing is to be expected. Chise looking really distraught about a possibility to die and willing to go to the witches regardless of Elias’s opinion was something unexpected. I guess she’s grown quite a lot.
  • Question of the week – will the witches be able to make a mahou shoujo not only from Chise but also from Elias?

Fate/Extra Last Encore (Ep. 5)

  • I have very little new to say apart from what I’ve already mentioned before. Didn’t care for Shinji (in this iteration of Fate), didn’t care about the knight. I’m waiting for something more inventive than a new floor with one Mater-Servant pair that needs to be defeated and one girl (that lost her servant) who helps to do that.

  • Hakuno being represented by a pawn? Seems about right, if not too generous.
  • Still love the shadows in the forest, it’s probably the best part of the show. Though the OP is also pretty good.
  • Doesn’t ascending the floors remind you of SAO?
  • I guess the most interesting part was Hakuno going Berserk for some reason, as if he was also a servant. It’s already the second time he used it, so an explanation might already be underway. And, also, Rin. I’ve no idea how does she stay hidden, manage to know everything and get a free pass in the elevator.
  • Certainly there are some interesting things being hinted at but I’m afraid at this point I can’t recommend this show. Playing with the settings and characters for the sake of playing is fine but so far I fail to see much substance in it. Maybe later on?.. Of course fans of the original games are going places with various theories and explanations, but even if Nasu himself promised to keep everyone entertained regardless of their previous experiences, so far I don’t think its working.

 

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  1. 3 Days, 3 Quotes: Happiness and Accidents – Keiko's Anime blog

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